Is your semi-wood floor beginning to look dull and dilapidated? Scratches, wear and tear, and old finish- they all take away the elegance of the establishment. Sometimes it takes you right to the edge, forcing you to consider ripping out the entire installation and replace it. Don’t fret. It doesn’t have to get that far. You can simply have it sanded and refinished, to accentuate its aesthetic appeal. Then there are those cases where you’re simply tired of the current look, and want to change things up a bit. Whether it’s in your home where you want a different colouration for your flooring, in your business premises where you’re undertaking a renovation to give you a professional look, or you’re in the real estate market and you’re preparing the residential, office or retail space for occupation, you can have the floor set to the standards you desire with a thorough sanding and refinishing process.
Understanding The Structure Of Semi-Wood Floors
First things first- breaking down the structure of the flooring, to ensure that you are certain of the kind of installation you have. Solid wood floors are just that: boards of the selected wood species and nothing more. Whether you have oak, mahogany, cherry, hickory, or even bamboo, solid wood floors are composed of the constituent species, making up their entire structure. For instance, if you have picked up a solid maple floor, the boards have been cut from a maple tree that has been lumbered, and then graded. Semi solid floors now bring in the layers of the selected wood species, and bond them together with layers of ply for a solid and stable base. Basically, the core is composed of plywood, and then a layer of solid wood is fixed onto it. That top layer of solid wood is usually referred to as a lamella. It can be anything from 3 to 12 layers of plywood sandwiched together or cross layered. From 3-ply to multi-ply, it all depends on your budget and the requirements for your establishment.
Semi-solid wood floors are popular because they can be installed in rooms where there are wide temperature and moisture fluctuations. This gives them a wider scope of installations compared to solid wood floors, which are very sensitive to changes in environmental conditions. The tissue structure of natural wood is hygroscopic, absorbing and losing moisture depending on the temperature and humidity of the surrounding air space. This leads to issues like gaps forming, warping and cupping. With semi wood floors, this impact is reduced. The higher the number of ply layers, the greater the stability. One can even have under-floor heating. The thickness of the solid wood layer usually spans between 3 and 6mm, while the underlying ply is typically between 15 and 20 mm.
Sanding Semi-Wood Flooring
The thickness of the top solid wood layer is a huge factor in determining how many times the floor can be sanded in its lifetime. Next is the level of traffic that the establishment handles. The more people there are walking about, the faster the rate of wear, due to everything from the kinds of shoes they are wearing, all through to their weight. Aspects such as motorised carts, children toys and premises with pets also factor in. Cats and dogs are known for the scratches they leave behind on floor as they run around with their claws drawn out. The average home can have its semi wood floor sanded for 2 to 3 times in its life, with most scheduling a complete sanding and refinishing every ten years or so. Commercial establishments, from office buildings, malls, retail stores, gymnasiums, hospitality venues, all through to education centres including school, libraries and campus halls will require it to be done more frequently.
Powerful sanders are needed to break through existing coats of finish and grind away those scratches, etch marks and stubborn stains that are on the surface. However, it’s not just about power. Skill is also vital. Note that you have only a thin section of the top solid wood layer that can be sanded. Otherwise, the beauty, structural integrity and even life of the floor installation are put at risk. Eating too much into the wood reduces the number of times it can be sanded and refinished in future, and also exposes the underlying structure to damage. Cases of divots and dips are common with DIY projects, and unevenness as one focuses on one section of the floor too much. This is why it is insisted on the owner hiring professional floor sanding and restoration services, to ensure that the process gets carried out right.
There’s also the dust aspect to consider. It’s not just the top layer of the wood that is being sanded, and its particles winding up in the dust generated. The existing varnish that is being removed, also gets mixed in the sand. This includes numerous kinds of chemical compounds which are safe on the floor, but when inhaled are allergens, toxins and carcinogens. Hence, an efficient dust control mechanism is needed during the sanding, to pick up the particles the moment they are chipped up from the floor. Conventional machines available from rental stores barely have the capacity to vacuum up the dust, with their dust bags also not holding much of it in. This leaves you will a huge cleaning task to undertake, adding to the workload of the floor restoration process. All this can be avoided by using professional floor sanding services, with the crew coming with high powered vacuuming systems attached to the sanders, that deliver the required suction to ensure that it’s a safe and mess-free process.
After the sanding, the preferred finish coats are applied on the semi-wood floor. Here, it all depends on the taste of the property owner. There are hundreds of products to choose from, each giving the flooring its unique colouration. The outcome also varies depending on the type of wood species and its grain. You get to breathe new life into your semi wood floor, showcasing your personality at home, and giving your business premises that professional look and feel you desire.